Bicheno to Freycinet National Park
51km, 330m elevation
My first two days of cycling in Tasmania were hot and sunny. The sun is particularly intense this far south. When I woke up today, though, it was drizzling so I lazed around and got a leisurely start to the day. It’s actually nice to have some cooler weather and a bit of cloud for a change. As I heading south of Bicheno, I passed by lots of farmland and sheep pasture. It’s quite dry but also scenic and enjoyable riding. Continue reading “Cycling Tasmania – Day 3”→
I started my second day of cycling around Tasmania with pancakes! Mount Elephant Pancakes is a locally famous country restaurant at the top of Elephant Pass that serves up piles of sweet and savoury crepes to hungry visitors every morning. I went with the “Banberry” option – bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries with a generous dollop of cream and ice cream! What a way to start the day. Oh, the restaurant is for sale – for just $1.4 million, you could be the proud owner. Continue reading “Cycling Tasmania – Day 2”→
Three of my favourite things: food, travel, and cycling. I’ve always wanted to visit Melbourne and now that I’m here I’m exploring every neighbourhood, street, and restaurant that I can. Joining a cycle tour is a great way to get oriented and see what a city has to offer. Freddy from Freddy’s Bike Tours knows all the quiet backstreets and some great places to get a good meal. Plus he rents comfy cruiser bikes that are easy on the backside. Continue reading “Exploring Melbourne with Freddy’s Bike Tours”→
A week in Singapore is hardly enough time to sample all the delicious food that you can find throughout the city. There’s everything from simple chicken and rice cooked up at cramped little stalls in the bowels of Chinatown to sophisticated fare served at the classiest of fine restaurants. The one thing you’ll find in common among the wide variety of influences (Malaysian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Portuguese to name just a few) is that it’s all really good food. Singaporeans know their food and they don’t tolerate anything that isn’t up to par. Bad places go out of business and a sure way to get a good meal is simply to join in any long line of people you happen to see waiting for dinner. Here’s a taste of a few of the dishes I had the opportunity to sample over my short stay in this exceptionally appetizing country. Continue reading “Singapore Street Food”→
Having recently taken part in the TGO Challenge, a walk across the Scottish highlands from the west coast to the North Sea, I got to reminiscing about another great coast-to-coast walk.
Back in the summer of 2012, Michael and I walked Wainwright’s coast-to-coast trail in northern England. It goes right from one side of the country to the other – from the North Sea, across 300 km of mountains, moors, and classic English countryside to the cliffs of the Irish sea. Here’s my journal and some photos from our adventure…
Usually, people walk the trail from west to east and stay in B&Bs along the route but we chose to go in reverse and to camp as much as we could. This let us save what we felt was the most beautiful (and difficult!) part for last.
Day 10 – A Challenge Party
Braemar to Lochcallater Lodge 12:30-14:30 (2 hours), 9 km
I left Braemar after enjoying a tasty breakfast at Gordon’s Tearoom. Nothing like bacon and black pudding to fuel a day’s walk. Two hours later I arrived at Lochcallater Lodge. A few other Challengers had already set up tents just outside and more were inside enjoying hot tea. I was really excited to be at Lochcallater, perhaps one of the most prominent landmarks in TGO Challenge history. Every year Challengers gather here to celebrate, sing songs, and eat and drink late into the night.
Day 5 – Crossing the Monadhliath
Ault-na-Goire to River Findhorn 09:50-17:20 (7.5 hours), 26 km
It was hard to say goodbye to Ault na Goire and the warm hospitality of Janet and Alec Sutherland. After a very filling breakfast I took my tent down and set off toward the Monadhliath Mountains. Not so much mountains as long, rolling hills, this was perhaps the area that I was most excited to see and also most anxious to get across. In bad weather with rain and fog, navigating through these indistinguishable hills can be notoriously difficult. But what I really wanted to see was the impact of rapidly expanding wind turbine developments. Wind power is a controversial topic in Scotland. In most places it’s thought of as a clean form of power. But in the Monadhliath you can see first-hand how it’s rapidly changing the face of the landscape. Construction and access roads criss-cross the land and heavy machinery thunders by. What’s left of this wilderness is fast disappearing.
About as soon as I could I left the wind turbine roads and started walking across the boggy, wet moor. At times I had to make large diversions to avoid steep muddy drops into ravines. I counted at least a dozen stream crossings on the ascent, each feeling colder than the last, as I approached freshly melting snow. Yet, it felt good to walk through wilderness, away from the roads and to follow the tracks of deer and rabbit. While it did rain off and on, there was little fog and I found the navigation within my capabilities. In heavy fog it would be quite the challenge! Continue reading “Walking across Scotland – the TGO Challenge (part 3)”→
Day 3 – The Weather Turns
Orrin River to Kiltarlity 07:15-19:15 (12 hours), 33 km
The first two days of my walk across Scotland were sunny, warm, calm, and really just perfect. It was hard to believe I was actually walking in a place renowned for its heavy rains and violent winds. When I woke up on the third morning of my journey, Scotland decided to give me a taste of the weather it’s famous for.
Rain, mist, wind, more rain. This change in the weather coincided with my first true track-less walking of the trip. As I followed the Orrin River downstream to the Orrin Reservoir, I enjoyed taking out the map and practising my navigation skills. The Scottish Highlands are a great place to sharpen your navigation capabilities. Features such as hills are often rounded without distinct points, making them difficult to distinguish from one another. Often, the best way to navigate is to follow waterways (burns, creeks, rivers, etc.) up over the hills then connect with a new waterway to find your way down the other side. Continue reading “Walking across Scotland – the TGO Challenge (part 2)”→
I love long walks, especially when they take you right across a country from one coast or border to another. That’s the idea behind the TGO Challenge. Design your own route starting on the west coast and finishing at the North Sea, get advice from experienced Scottish hill walkers, and start walking. This isn’t my first country-crossing journey on foot but it is my first time hiking in Scotland and I was very grateful for the wise advice on such things as where to find beautiful camp spots and where I might want to avoid wind-farm construction. Continue reading “Walking across Scotland – the TGO Challenge”→